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In The Club

In the Club Aug 9

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read. Let’s dive in.


cover of Impossible Views of the World by Lucy IvesThis newsletter is sponsored by Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives, published by Penguin Press.

Stella Krakus, a curator at Manhattan’s renowned Central Museum of Art, is having the roughest week in approximately ever. Her soon-to-be ex-husband (the perfectly awful Whit Ghiscolmbe) is stalking her, a workplace romance with “a fascinating, hyper-rational narcissist” is in free-fall, and a beloved colleague, Paul, has gone missing. Pulsing with neurotic humor and dagger-sharp prose, Impossible Views of the World is a dazzling debut novel about how to make it through your early thirties with your brain and heart intact.


Let’s talk about the canon: specifically, some books by women of color that should be added to it, plus their current-canon read-alikes. I love this list and these picks, and can imagine a ton of great discussions around them. Highly recommended reading!

Does your book group need more murder? (We’re not here to judge.) Here are 5 crime must-reads out this month that might just fit the bill, including a science-fictional murder mystery, a new female detective in Stockholm, a stand-alone from Karin Slaughter, and a debut from the show-runner of Bones.

Related: how about some murderesses? Here’s a list of 10 female killers, ranging from Medea to Misery.

Let’s flip this script. What about ladies who solve the crimes, specifically sassy teen ladies? Here’s a list of Veronica Mars read-alikes (for real, though). Tirzah has specific comparisons for you, including some Logan GIFs, which I am sure you will be as delighted by as I was.

Read like Gabourey Sidibe! The actress and newly-minted author is a book nerd, and here’s a collection of her picks from Instagram to prove it. What I love about this is that it’s primarily nonfiction and true crime.

Need help finding trans authors in your favorite genre, whatever that might be? We’ve got a post for that. Constance has assembled recommendations across kids books, nonfiction, sci-fi, mystery, travel writing, poetry — it’s very extensive, and very handy!

Does your book group need more sharks? (What book group does not, I ask you.) Live/read every week like it’s Shark Week, with this round-up of everything from encyclopedias to memoir to an alterna-Western.

How about some fiction from South Africa? Rabeea has three recommendations for you, including an homage to Mrs. Dalloway that I could not add to my TBR list fast enough.

And that’s a wrap: Happy discussing! If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the new SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations (including the occasional book club question!) you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

Your fellow booknerd,
Jenn

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page

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In The Club

In The Club Jul 26

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read. Today includes a spotlight on Victor LaValle’s work, the Wrinkle in Time trailer, an assortment of theme ideas, and more!


Dangerous Ground by M William PhelpsThis newsletter is sponsored by Dangerous Ground by M. William Phelps.

New York Times bestselling author M. William Phelps, star of Investigation Discovery’s Dark Minds, presents a real-life thriller about his relationship with “Raven,” the serial killer who collaborated with Phelps on Investigation Discovery’s Dark Minds. With meticulous reporting and intimate detail, true crime master M. William Phelps divulges major, newsworthy revelations about one of America’s most prolific serial killers.


Page to screen alert: if you were thinking about picking A Wrinkle In Time back up, now is a great time! The trailer for the film adaptation is here, and I thought it was stunning. It’s been at least two decades since I read the book, and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t that much face-glitter in the original, but I’m willing to put up with some Hollywood-ization in the name of an amazing adaptation. Fingers crossed, and I’ve got my copy on the top of my TBR stack!

Here’s a theme idea: the 7 deadly sins. As one Rioter argues, fiction wouldn’t be much without humanity’s worst flaws, and she’s got a pick for each sin. If your book club thrives on picking apart motives for bad behavior, this is the list for you.

There’s all kinds of historical fiction: speculative, revisionist, and more straightforward. B&N put together a list of 50 of their favorites across the spectrum and across the ages. Some of them might be familiar as popular book group choices (All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale), but others might surprise you. The list is primarily Western and could use some more authorial diversity, but there’s a lot of options here for the book club looking to get historical.

Has your book club ever discussed a work of poetry? There’s no time like the present; here’s a piece on poetry’s importance to one Rioter, along with six collections worth discussing.

Need more LGBTQ+ reads, particularly L and B? Here are two resources for you: 10 novels about black queer women (can I highly recommend you pick up Salt Roads?) and 7 classic lesbian and bi books that you probably missed.

We’ve still got a bit of summer left, which means there’s still time to pick up these diverse recs! Sarah specifically chose ones that would make for good book club reads, and they include memoir, YA, and fiction, so you’ve got a lovely range to work with. 

For my fellow ’80s movie lovers: here are book pairings for 16 Candles, The Princess Bride, Heathers, and more.

Spotlight on: Victor LaValle

I wish I could remember who first recommended LaValle’s work to me, so I could thank them. I’ve been reading him for years, even though normally I avoid books that are this creepy; he’s just that good. His books often take place in NYC and blend the fantastical and supernatural with elements of horror. Reading him can require a bit of bravery (and maybe a lot of lights turned on), and will leave you looking at modern life with a new perspective. His books are chockfull of characters, layers of plot, and commentary on society, so there’s oodles to discuss. If you’ve never read him before, allow me to introduce him to you!

– Get a sense of his taste and influences: LaValle chose 5 books to talk about over on LitHub.
– Need more info about his work? Here’s a reading pathway from Tor.

cover of The Changeling by Victor LaValleWant to dive in with the most recent? The Changeling is an incredibly intense, memorable, and compelling read, and follows Apollo Kagwa, a book dealer trying to make ends meet. We learn just enough about his childhood to understand why being a dad is simultaneously so important and so difficult for him. He falls for a librarian named Emma, they get married and get pregnant, and everything seems to be going well enough — until the day that Emma shackles him to a chair, kills their baby, and then disappears. But that’s just the first third of the book; Apollo soon discovers that nothing is as it seems, and his quest through New York City takes him to places no parent ever wants to go. It’s bloody, it’s terrifying, and not just because of the monsters going bump in the night. Rather, not just because of the supernatural monsters; there are human monsters involved as well.

LaValle has always been good at going to the dark places in the human psyche and lacing in the fantastical. That skill is the reason I pick up each and every book he writes. In this book he’s pulling no punches, and his storytelling is top-notch. If you’re ready to dive into the deep end, pick it up ASAP.

A few reviews for The Changeling that I found insightful:
– The NY Times has a measured critique.
– NPR called it “enchanting, infuriating, horrifying, and heartbreaking.”
– USA Today gave it 4 out of 4 stars.

And that’s a wrap: Happy discussing! If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the new SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations (including the occasional book club question!) you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page

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In The Club

In the Club Jul 12

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read. Today we’ve got a spotlight on geographic book lists, in addition to news from far and wide.


cover image of The Dollhouse by Fiona DavisThis newsletter is sponsored by The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis.

Fiona Davis’s stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City’s glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where in the 1950s a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side by side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon’s glitzy past.


If at first book club does not succeed, try try again? Adiba chronicles her failed attempts to find her book group match, stories which will probably sound very familiar. As always, the trick is getting a good discussion going and getting a good schedule going, and it can take a while to find both!

For those who like their book club over wifi, there’s a burgeoning romance book discussion happening on Twitter at #RomBkLove. As I type this people are talking about their favorite sexy historicals. This is the kind of online book discussion I love — it’s less about trying to have a meaningful conversation on one particular title (very difficult even with threading), and more about talking your way into a genre/topic.

Relaunching in 5, 4, 3 … Zoella’s book club is back! I basically only know Zoella through book publishing news (the UK bookseller trades in particular love to gripe/discuss/talk about her). While the list for 2017 could stand to be more inclusive, it’s got some excellent authors on it (Adam Silvera, Jennifer Mathieu).

In adaptation news, so many projects are in the pipeline! Peter Pan, Vanity Fair, and Little Women are all getting treatments, and we might actually get The Man Who Killed Don Quixote sometime in the next, oh, decade?

The history of women’s book clubs is more politically charged than you might think. This is an interesting look at how we got from Anne Hutchinson in the 1630s, to the consciousness-raising groups of the ’60s and ’70s, to today’s modern (and oft-derided) book club.

For our food-oriented groups (which is all of you, right??) here are some indulgent pairings suggestions that are blowing my mind AND making me drool (The Odyssey and lamb kebabs!).

And last but not least, let’s get geographic! I love a good regional reading list, and these four are some of my recent favorites.
– Indigenous authors in Canada
– LGBTQ Latin American authors
– 100 Must-Read Australian books
– Books to understand Egypt

And that’s a wrap: Happy discussing! If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the new SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations (including the occasional book club question!) you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page
Writers on the books that helped them come out.

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In The Club

In the Club Jun 28

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read. Today we’ve got Pride reads, a Maori/Pasifika reading list, a look at the first Big Library Reads, Oprah’s latest pick, and lots more linky goodness.


Swimming Home by Mary-Rose MacCollThis newsletter is sponsored by Swimming Home by Mary-Rose MacColl.

London 1925: Fifteen-year-old Catherine Quick longs to feel once more the warm waters of her home, to strike out into the ocean off the Torres Strait Islands in Australia and swim, as she’s done since she was a child. But now, orphaned and living with her aunt Louisa in London, Catherine feels that everything she values has been stripped away from her.


This DC book group has been around since 2007, and BookBrowse interviewed one of their organizers! If you want an in-depth look at how one group operates, this is well worth your time.

Read like Moana: This excellent Maori/Pasifika reading list has novels, poetry, and short stories across genres, along with great descriptions. I now want to read everything on here, basically. And what an excellent pairing — read one of these and then (re)watch Moana!

I missed it earlier, but the Big Library Read ran from June 12-26. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a worldwide book club facilitated by Overdrive, allowing anyone access to the chosen ebook without holds or wait lists. Cool, right? From the discussion page it looks like it was a smallish group, but I’ll be keeping an eye on it for the next one.

Speaking of ebooks! If you’re already reading the classics or want to read more of them, ebooks are already a great choice, since they’re generally very available. Of course, the formatting isn’t always the best, which is where Standard Ebooks wants to come in. They’re taking public domain/open access books and making nicely-formatted ebooks, available for free. I tested one out, and it was pretty seamless.

As Pride month wraps up, there’s no time like the present for some round-ups to bring the rainbow to your reading list!
Book Club Made Me Gay (this one’s a must-read, and exploded my own TBR)
10 Mind-Blowing Bi & Lesbian Books
Celebrating Pride and Queer Lit with Hide
Finding Queer POC Books
100 Must-Read LGBTQIA YA Books
14 More LGBTQ Middle Grade Books
– Favorite Queer SFF Characters

Related: I love these queer rainbow book stacks, and it got me thinking. Next time you’re stuck for a topic or can’t decide on a book, why not have everyone Build Their Own Stack and bring it for discussion? Pick a few books (let’s say 3-5) around a theme, bring your stack to the meeting, and explain why they’re you’re favorite for that theme. I’ll bet you anything you’d get some new books on your group’s TBR list, find some reads for yourself, and fill up your discussion nicely.

In celebrity book club news, Sarah Jessica Parker has picked the first title for her partnership with the ALA: No One Is Coming To Save Us by Stephanie Powell-Watts. She’s also announced her first manuscript acquisition for her new imprint!

And last but definitely not least, let’s talk about Behold the Dreamers, which Oprah just picked for her book club! This has been a staff favorite at Book Riot since it came out, so we could not be more excited. Here’s a link-kit for discussing it amongst yourselves:
– CBS has the announcement and reading group guide!
The Atlantic looks at Behold the Dreamers and The Wangs vs. The World, both about the 2008 financial collapse.
PBS has a video (and transcript) of an interview with Imbolo Mbue about writing the book and what people might take away from it.
Rebecca reviewed it on our YouTube channel back when it first came out.
– And for podcast fans, Rebecca and Liberty discussed it on All the Books.

And that’s a wrap: Happy discussing! If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the new SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations (including the occasional book club question!) you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page

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In The Club

In the Club Jun 14

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read.


This newsletter is sponsored by The Hideaway by debut author Lauren K. Denton.

cover of The Hideaway by Lauren K. DentonNamed ‘Debut of the Month’ by Library Journal, The Hideaway is a lyrical, southern gem from Lauren K. Denton.

Sara Jenkins leaves her busy life in New Orleans and heads to The Hideaway, a ramshackle B&B in Alabama that she has just inherited from her late grandmother Mags. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends but soon discovers a home she never expected.

Brimming with winsome details, poignant insights, and endearingly-flawed characters, this novel is ideal for fans of Sarah Addison Allen, Beatriz Williams, and Patti Callahan Henry!


Need more murder for your group? 100 Must-Reads about serial killers.

The Other Scandinavians: Dorthe Nors breaks down contemporary Scandinavian literature, NOT Scandi Noir, and recommends five favorites. Not all of her picks are available in the US, but you’ll want to check out the ones that are after reading this interview.

Foodie + steamy = yes. This list of 8 romances is full of reads about food and love, one of which is literally called Delicious! (I can vouch for that one personally; it’s the Regency foodie Cinderella I didn’t know I wanted.)

And, of course, it is past time for a summer reading round-up!
– Read like Bill Gates.
– Summer reading guide from Modern Ms. Darcy, sectioned out by type of novel!
Recs from six novelists who own bookstores!
Bitch Media’s June selections
The Seattle Times recs 15 books

Since we’re done with the Read Harder Challenge suggestions, I’ll be trying out some ideas for the second section of this newsletter! This week will be a pair of pairs (because my sense of humor is easily tickled) but I’d love to hear from you all! What do you want more of? What might be helpful to your group? More recs? More how-to’s? Hit reply and let me know!

A Pair of Pairs: Page to Screen

I’m still obsessed with the idea of a page-to-screen book group, and since I don’t have one right now you all have to live my dreams for me! Here are two film/book pairings that would make for excellent discussion and viewing:

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang and Arrival

cover image of Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted ChiangArrival was one of the most critically acclaimed films of last year, especially for a science-fiction movie. It was based on the titular novella, “Story of Your Life,” from Chiang’s collection and I have described it as both a gut-punch to the feels and one of the most academically interesting alien encounter stories I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. Chiang looks at linguistics, parenting, the nature of time, and humanity’s deep and abiding xenophobia, all in less than 50 pages. The rest of the collection is excellent as well, but “Story of Your Life” has enough meat to it to work as the subject of a full discussion. And, of course, the film inevitably strays from its original source material, so there will be plenty to compare and contrast!

To get the discussion going:
– an interview with the filmmakers of Arrival, via Parade
– a Contrast and Compare via Kirkus

The Hours by Michael Cunningham and The Hours

movie tie-in cover of The Hours by Michael CunninghamI know it’s been a minute since The Hours came out (can it really be 15 years ago for the move?! And 17 for the book.), but for me this was the rare case in which I liked the movie better than the book. It’s hard to argue with the production value or the slew of awards it won, including Best Actress for Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of Virginia Woolf. It’s also hard to argue with the Pulitzer Prize that the novel won! While the movie is overall faithful, changes were definitely made. Do they help the story? Do they hinder it? If your group is interested in books that include family sagas, depression and mental illness, a focus on queer lives, and characters that you can’t always like but you might understand, this is the combo for you. Bonus: you could also throw Mrs. Dalloway in there to make the discussion even wider-reaching!

To get the discussion going:
Michael Cunningham on seeing the film come to life

And that’s a wrap: Happy discussing! If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the new SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations (including the occasional book club question!) you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page

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In The Club

In The Club May 31

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read. Let’s dive in.


This newsletter is sponsored by Driving Miss Norma by Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle.

Driving Miss NormaAt the age of 90, in the same hospital where her husband of 67 years passed away just days earlier, Miss Norma received the news that she had cancer. Declining traditional cancer treatment, Miss Norma opted instead to live the remainder of her life to the fullest, traveling the country in an RV with her son Tim, his wife Ramie, and their poodle, Ringo. As Miss Norma put it to her oncologist: “I’m 90 years old. I’m hitting the road”. Come along for the ride of this unforgettable journey, and let Miss Norma inspire you to say YES to living.


Calling all wizards and witches! Pottermore is getting a book club. Kind of? Twitter book clubs are always a bit of a mess — there’s no threading so conversations can go off the rails or be hard to follow and hashtags have a tendency to get overtaken by ne’er-do-wells. The extras for each book on Pottermore will be nice, but since you can’t have a conversation right there, I am skeptical! If anyone can make it work, though, it’s the HP fandom; I look forward to seeing how it unfolds.

Need more book club with your shopping? Talbots is starting a Summer Book Club. Kind of! Is it actually a book club if there isn’t a scheduled conversation attached to the books that are given out? I don’t think this qualifies as a book club at all, honestly, but that’s department store marketing for you. I love the idea! I just wish they had called it the Summer Book Exchange instead.

When you don’t actually want to talk about the book: Silent Book Club now easier to find near you! If you’re not familiar with them, they organize reading parties in various cities where folks get together to, you guessed it, silently read in the same place for a couple hours. It’s probably not actually a book club either, but I’ll allow it.

What if your mother/daughter book club doesn’t work out? It seemed like the best idea! You had a plan! But sometimes, it just doesn’t go how you thought it would. That’s ok. If you want to try anyway and need some themed options, here are 100 books about mothers.

Book Club resolution: Read more small presses. We can help with that; here are 12 books out in May. The list includes essays, novels, short stories, and mystery, so lots of options depending on your taste!

And now for our very last installment of Read Harder Challenge recommendations! Since tasks 9, 10, 11, and 16 are either personal or location-specific, I leave you to those. So, here are round-ups of themed lists for the two last tasks, plus a shout-out each to a personal favorite!

For: read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. (from author Ausma Zehanat Khan)

here by wislawa szymborskaHere by Wisława Szymborska is a bilingual collection of one of my all-time favorite poets. Szymborska’s poetry was a revelation to me as a teenager and 20+ years later continues to stun me.
– A Read Harder-inspired list
– Book Riot’s “In Translation” archives
PEN Award for Poetry In Translation winner list
Recommended reading from PEN

 

For: Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. (from author Jacqueline Koyanagi)

Guidebook to Relative Strangers by Camille T. DungyGuidebook to Relative Strangers by Camille T. Dungy comes out on June 13 and I cannot wait for other folks to start reading it. She looks at motherhood, home, travel, nature, and so many other aspects of life in this gorgeously written memoir.
– A Read Harder-inspired list
10 SF/F books with protagonists of color from Bustle (minus the two that don’t count and are acknowledged as such!)
Goodreads discussion for this task

 

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources pagei

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In The Club

In The Club May 17

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read.

It’s hard to believe summer is almost here, when book club attendance is at its spottiest. Some folks finally have time to read the books, while others are off traveling. Regardless, summer is always my favorite time to recommend books, because more folks have just enough additional time to spend some of it reading.


This newsletter is sponsored by Every Other Wednesday by Susan Kietzman.

Every Other WednesdayFor years, Ellie, Alice, and Joan enjoyed a casual friendship while volunteering at their children’s Connecticut high school. Now, with those children grown and gone to college, a local tragedy brings the three into contact again. But what begins as a catch-up lunch soon moves beyond small talk to the struggles of this next stage of life.
Over the course of an eventful year, Ellie, Alice, and Joan will meet every other Wednesday to talk, plan—and find the freedom, and the courage, to redefine themselves.


Gone through a couple dud picks? Never fear: Amanda has recommendations that are sure to fire up your next discussion. Side note: I always love it when a few people in the group hate the book at hand, because then there’s something to argue about. Discussions are never so boring as when everyone says “It was good!” and then you all sit there staring for another 30 minutes. Of course, I also have to acknowledge that it’s less fun for the people who spent hours reading a book they hated…

Enough fiction already! A book club trend we’ve seen at Get Booked: folks looking for business book recommendations. I’m delighted to direct you to Trisha’s post about women and work for some great options.

Maybe you just need more people? Tracy recommends ways to find bookish people IRL (one of which is a book club). I particularly liked the last tip; it’s so easy to believe you know exactly what a bookish person “looks” like, but there are stealth book nerds out there!

What’s hot right now? I held onto this link so that some of them would actually be out for your group to read. Courtesy of The Millions, here are some of the most anticipated reads of 2017.

New York! New York! New York is on fire! (Y’all I am so sorry, I literally could not resist.) But it’s true, people do love to destroy the Big Apple in fiction.

And now for this week’s Read Harder Challenge recommendations! Here are round-ups of themed lists for a couple tasks, plus a shout-out each to a personal favorite.

For: Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.

Near to the Wild HeartNear To the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector doesn’t look like it would provoke much discussion, but it’s a book that provokes strong reactions across the spectrum. It’s Lispector’s first novel, is deeply contemplative and frank, and has a very stream-of-consciousness style.
100 Must-Read Latin American Books
Latin American Lit (In Translation) list
Latin American authors you should be reading on Quartz
22 Female Latin American Authors

 

For: read a book published by a micropress.
Guillotine 2 by Bojan Louis“Troubleshooting Silence in Arizona” by Bojan Louis, from Guillotine Press is a timely, beautifully written, and hand-stitched essay that I adore!
Time To Talk About Micropresses
Task 21’s Discussion Board on Goodreads
– Here’s a list of comics micropresses!

 

 

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page

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In The Club May 3

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read.


This newsletter is sponsored by The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers.

The Widow of Wall Street cover A provocative new novel by bestselling author Randy Susan Meyers about the seemingly blind love of a wife for her husband as he conquers Wall Street, and her extraordinary, perhaps foolish, loyalty during his precipitous fall.

When Phoebe learns her husband’s triumph and vast reach rests on an elaborate Ponzi scheme her world unravels. Her children refuse to see her if she remains at their father’s side, but abandoning him feels cruel and impossible.

From penthouse to prison, Randy Susan Meyers’s latest novel exposes a woman struggling to survive and then redefine her life as her world crumbles.


Books for your mama: Bustle breaks down how to put together a successful mother-daughter book club. We get questions about this so regularly on Get Booked, I felt like there might already be some of you trying this and many more interested. And section 5, on choosing your books, has some great methods that would work with any kind of book club — I had never heard the 5-3-1 Method before, but I dig it.

OMG, so awkward. Sharifah talks about awkward book club moments, whether it’s you or the person sitting across from you, and she had me cracking up with this video. Be prepared for some realtalk!

Want to get more calendrical with your group’s choices? Here are 50 fictional literary dates to tie into, courtesy of Lithub.

Get out the popcorn: Casey has five great lesbian movies based on books for your consideration. Whether you’re doing a page-to-screen book club or just need some good books to discuss, she’s got you covered.

Every villain is the hero of their own story. And to prove it, the B&N blog has five (debatably delightful) disturbing narrators for you.

And now for this week’s Read Harder Challenge recommendations! Here are round-ups of themed lists for a couple tasks, plus a shout-out each to a personal favorite.

For: read an LGBTQ romance novel (courtesy of Sarah MacLean)

For Real by Alexis HallFor Real by Alexis Hall, which is an incredibly sweet and incredibly dirty romance that made me cry and/or blush depending on the page. Talking points include May/December romances, BDSM, and how we recover when we get lost.
5 Authors To Get You Started in M/M Romance
Romance beyond gay and lesbian
A (Semi) Comprehensive Guide to LGBTQ+ Romance
Lesbian Romance Novels

For: read a book published between 1900 and 1950.

We by Yevgeny ZamyatinWe by Yevgeny Zamyatin, which came before 1984 and starts with the premise that happiness is more important than freedom. It’s a classic.
– Books That Shaped America: 1900 to 1950
Best Children’s Books: 1900 to 1950
Popular 1900s to 1950s books on Goodreads

 

 

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page

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In the Club Apr 19

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read.


BR Insiders Image SquareThis newsletter is sponsored by Book Riot Insiders.

Level up your reading life with Book Riot Insiders! We’ve got exclusive content and goodness for subscribers, including a new releases calendar, an Insiders-only forum, a Read Harder podcast, special store deals, and more. Join us!

 


Does your book club need more chill? Bustle has some suggestions on keeping it fun and easy-going. These are all good (and pretty basic). I particularly love the reminder to occasionally pick books by local authors, which increases the chance of getting to meet them, especially if you’re not in a high-profile city that gets a lot of touring authors!

No one can pick a book like a librarian. Early Word tallied librarians’ 2016 favorites back in December, which means there’s a good chance most of these are now available in paperback! I’m a little surprised to see that Dark Matter beat out Homegoing and Underground Railroad (which has now added the Pulitzer to its impressive list of awards), but I can’t deny that it’s a solid reading choice.

Let’s talk about adaptations. Bustle mentioned them as ways to add fun to your book group, and I’ve always wanted (but never had the time) to be part of a Page to Screen-style book club. And what with everyone re-reading Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood teasing a possible sequel, and the TV show premiering soon, that seems like a no-brainer for one (maybe two?) meeting’s worth of discussion. Show of hands? Anyone planning a group watch, or discussion after?

Let’s get transnational! I’ll be honest, that’s a word I’ve never said before. But this list of reads from personal favorite author Mohsin Hamid (whose books are all excellent book club fodder, may I say) perfectly encapsulates the concept, and gives some great reading suggestions.

To serve or not to serve: that is the question. Since not every book group can (or should) be boozy, how about some literary-themed mocktail recipes? This list absolutely made my week, both for range of books used for themes and for drink options, and I will definitely be making some Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters this summer.

And now for this week’s Read Harder Challenge recommendations! Here are round-ups of themed lists for a couple tasks, plus a shout-out each to a personal favorite.

For: read a travel memoir.

cover of Last Chance to SeeLast Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, in which Douglas Adams goes around the world looking at endangered animals in the early ’90s. Yep, that Douglas Adams, so the book is both poignant and hilarious.
20 Inspiring Female Travel Memoirs
30 travel memoirs specifically for Read Harder!
Five Great Travel Memoirs from NPR

For: read a collection of short stories by a woman.

cover of Tender by Sofia SamatarTender by Sofia Samatar, which is an incredible collection of fantasy short stories that I just cannot stop talking about. Samatar has huge range, and each story has great hooks for discussion.
100 Must Read Short Story Collections
15 Contemporary Short Story Collections by Women from Bustle
10 Short Story Collections by Women from Bust
13 Horror Short Story Collections by Women
5 Short Story Collections by Women of Color from Writer’s Bone

 

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page

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In The Club

In the Club April 5

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read.


This newsletter is sponsored by Cage Match.

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When is a book club not just a book club? When it’s an event. Publishers put together gala ticketed nights, libraries do speed-dating, sometimes an author shows up! Here are a few that caught my eye recently, in case you are looking for ideas and are feeling highly motivated:
– Simon & Schuster decided to do a full Book Club Matinee at the Ed Sullivan theatre! The actual fanciest.
– It might not technically be a book club, but back when I was a bookseller staffing the first one there were a ton of book club folks in attendance at Random House’s Open House.
– Libraries not only host book clubs, they sometimes host speed dating to help you decide what to read next! Lawrence Public Library’s includes mocktails.
Well Read Black Girl has both online and in-person components, and one time Naomi Jackson came to brunch.

Speaking of Well Read Black Girl! Founder Glory Edim recently gave Ebony Magazine a list of five books that celebrate black womanhood, and the list is aces. Her picks include YA, fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, so there is something for every group here.

Got themes? Here’s some fodder for your next pick meeting:
– Novels you can read in a day.
– Novels that will make you cry.

And now for this week’s Read Harder Challenge recommendations! Here are round-ups of themed lists for a couple tasks, plus a shout-out each to a personal favorite.

For: read a nonfiction book about technology.

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier, which is cuckoo-banana-pants as well as highly thought-provoking, and my book club had an excellent time arguing about it.
The Best Books about Innovation, courtesy of the Smithsonian
– MIT’s Technology Review picks the best of 2016 (shout-out to Lab Girl!)
Forbes liked a lot of the same books, which tells you about what’s buzzy.

 

For: read a book about war.

– Shani Boianjiu’s The People of Forever Are Not Afraid is about both the drudgery and the violence of military service from a female perspective, and is a rare and fascinating read. Multiple narrators, strong voices, and a ton of discussion material.
48 Excellent World War II Novels, if you’re feeling historical
– Also historical: 100 Must-Reads about the Civil War
Canadian reads on war
Women who write about war

Read on, friends!

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page